Dear Abby: Abused wife wants to escape but is afraid to be on her own

Dear Abby: I’ve been married to my second husband for 14 years. He’s a great provider, but mentally and emotionally abusive.

I want to leave him, but I’m scared to live on my own. We both work, but he makes a lot of money – which I do not – so I guess you can say, financially I’m comfortable. But I’m miserable. I’m so unhappy I have tried to take my life.

He wanted us to be swingers and I finally gave in, and now it’s all I hear about. I don’t want to do it, but he doesn’t care what I want. His kids are mean and disrespectful. We have no kids together (which I want but can’t have, and he won’t adopt).

I feel like I’m wasting my life. I’m 43. I had to have emergency surgery and almost didn’t make it, and he resented me for it. Why can’t I leave him? Why am I so scared? I have no other family. – Wasting Away in the South

Dear Wasting Away: You said it yourself: You are scared to live on your own. Some people are afraid of the unknown, and you appear to be one of them. Because your husband has been coercing you into having sex with other men, I recommend you contact a support organization such as RAINN (www.rainn.org); its toll-free phone number is 800-656-HOPE (4673). Someone there can guide you in making an escape plan.

I also urge you to talk about this with an attorney, because you should not be penniless if you leave. What your husband has been doing is a form of spousal abuse, and between you and me, it shouldn’t take more than five seconds of self-evaluation to conclude that you would be better off without him.

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